[JURIST] Israel's treatment of Palestinians during December and January's Operation Cast Lead [GlobalSecurity backgrounder], in Gaza [JURIST news archive] grossly violated international law according to a report [text, PDF] released Friday by the office of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile]. The report, prepared by the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories, noted estimates of Israel causing 1,2000-1,400 civilian deaths during the conflict, citing incidents in which the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) [official website] are alleged to have killed civilians who had surrendered [JURIST report], and described Israel's use of white phosphorous [GlobalSecurity backgrounder] in densely populated areas. Among the report's recommendations were that Israel end the Gaza blockade, that independent investigators look into Israel's actions during the conflict as well as other alleged human rights violations, and that Israel cease to expand its settlements. The UN requested the study in a January resolution [JURIST report] condemning the offensive.
Last month, the IDF announced [JURIST report] that it was conducting criminal investigations into alleged intentional misconduct by Israeli soldiers during December and January's fighting in the Gaza strip. The IDF said it was investigating [report, PDF] 13 allegations against IDF personnel, including the use of civilians as human shields. Israel and the US condemned [DOS briefing] a February report [text, PDF; JURIST report] that criticized Israel for failing to take adequate precautions to distinguish between civilians and combatants. In April, an internal Israeli military investigation found that war crimes had not been committed [JURIST report] in the offensive.